Responsible drivers know to be on the lookout for dangerous situations; however, it can be difficult to anticipate the possibility of an accident when the danger is underneath your tires. There are millions of motor vehicle accidents every year in the United States, and a significant number of those are the result of poor road conditions due to insufficient or improper maintenance.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 4,436 of the 14,116 bridges in Kentucky, which is 31.4 percent, are structurally deficient or structurally obsolete. It’s also been calculated that 34 percent of the roads in the state are in poor or mediocre condition. As a result, $543 million is spent every year by drivers who are making repairs to their cars because of the roads that need to be fixed. That $185 per person.
While getting into a crash can be a taxing and stressful situation, an accident that results from bad roads can be even more frustrating because state and local governments are supposed to ensure the roads are maintained and safe for drivers. If your wreck was the result of a road defect, our lawyers may be able to help you recover the cost of damages you’ve incurred and hold the negligent party accountable for ignoring their responsibilities.
Characteristics of Dangerous Road Conditions
There are a number of hazards that could potentially be present on a poorly maintained road. Being aware of common poor road conditions can help you avoid dangerous accidents. Some of the most common characteristics of a dangerous road include:
- Potholes. When a vehicle hits a pothole, especially if it’s a deep one, the tires may come out of alignment, affecting how the vehicle drives. The driver could also lose control of their vehicle.
- Poorly Maintained Bridges. It’s incredibly dangerous for bridges to be poorly taken care of. The weight from traveling vehicles could affect the integrity of the bridge, leading to an eventual collapse. A serious storm could also wash a defective bridge out, causing serious traffic delays.
- Overgrown Foliage. It’s crucial for signs and road changes to be visible. In the event overgrown trees or plants affect the visibility of something important like a sharp curve in the road, a driver might not realize they need to slow their vehicle down.
- Flooding. When roads are improperly constructed, there could be drainage issues during storms. Drivers could become trapped in their cars if the water is high enough.
- Faded or Missing Line Markers or Traffic Signs. Drivers need to know where they need to be on the road and how they should be driving. If line markers are missing, it might be difficult to distinguish where on the road to drive or the presence of turning lanes. Missing signs can cause problems when speed limit signs and stop signs aren’t where they need to be.
- Malfunctioning Traffic Signals. At intersections, traffic signs let us know when it’s our turn to proceed. In the event the signals are not working properly, collisions are a possibility.
- Insufficient Lighting. If street lamps or lights in parking lots are burned out or altogether missing, drivers could miss possible hazards. Proper lighting is especially important in areas with high pedestrian numbers who may not be easily seen at night.
How Kentucky Handles Accidents Resulting from Poor Road Conditions
Individuals who were in an accident as a result of a poorly maintained road are able to take legal action. The Kentucky Claims Commission ensures impartial and fair reviews of claims by citizens who believe their person or personal property was damaged as a result of negligence by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The Commission determines whether a state agency has been negligent, consequently causing damages, injury, or loss to the claimant. There is no fee to file a claim, and claims can be filed against state agencies, state departments, or state employees while working within the scope of their employment. Only claims exceeding $250 will be considered. The process, depending on the amount of damage, can be complex, which is why you’ll benefit from hiring an experienced lawyer from Lexington.
If you see hazardous road conditions that need to be repaired, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, who is responsible for maintaining over 27,000 miles of state highways, allows individuals to file a report. You can document issues with potholes, guardrails and guard cables, signals, signs, highway lighting, or other problems that need to be addressed.
Keep in mind this is just for state highways that need work. If the spot is on a local road, you’ll need to contact the appropriate county or municipal department. If you believe the hazard is an emergency, call law enforcement.
If you’ve been in an accident resulting from poor road conditions, you have the right to take legal action. Our attorneys at Golden Law Office are prepared to review your claim and determine what course of action will best benefit you and your family. To learn more about your options, contact us today.